Pirate Radio: Philip Seymour Hoffman Brings Rock Music to Britain

Seven months after its theatrical release in the UK, and two months after its DVD debut there, Pirate Radio washes ashore with most of its better bits excised. Writer-director Richard Curtis, paying homage to the renegade '60s DJs spinning rock 'n' roll from ships anchored in the North Sea of England, now has a hodgepodge of scenes that amount to yet another movie about rebellious young men sticking it to The Man—this time with a tacked-on Titanic climax. The sinking ship here is Radio Rock, modeled after the real-life Radio Caroline, which sent ashore a nonstop soundtrack of the Kinks, Stones, Beach Boys, and the Who—all the music being ignored by state-sponsored radio. Among the ship's motley crew is Philip Seymour Hoffman doing his Lester Bangs again as a Yank DJ, and Rhys Ifans as the impossibly hep Gavin. Then there are the government henchmen who shake their clammy fists at the boat's "drug-takers, law-breakers, and bottom-breaking fornicators." But what do they find so offensive? Here are more than a dozen men charged only with playing music and talking dirty to Mother England in shifts, and they kill their time supping tea and playing a little banal truth-or-dare. The sex is polite, and there's not a whiff of dope. Only the music endures; not even so powerful a man as Curtis—maker of Four Weddings and a Funeral and Love, Actually—can outmuscle rock 'n' roll.

 
comments powered by Disqus